Rugby League

Zak Hardaker sustained a shoulder injury to compound Leeds' misery.

Problems in defence worry Leeds coach Brian McDermott

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Leeds coach Brian McDermott admitted his side have lost their "defensive integrity" as the Super League champions' slump continued with a 52-18 battering at Warrington.

The Rhinos were still in touch with the table-toppers at half-time, when they trailed 18-12, but collapsed in familiar fashion after the break to concede another six tries and a heaviest ever score to the Wolves in Super League.

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"It's worrying," McDermott said of his team's inability to play for the 80 minutes. "Defensively we were right off tonight.

"In the first half we did some things to get ourselves in a position to be competitive but we were too loose defensively.

"I thought we lost our defensive integrity tonight.

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"Warrington were very good. They've had some adversity themselves in the last couple of weeks and they answered a fair few questions tonight.

"But the whole game is about preventing people from being as good as they want to be and that starts with a loss in collision."

Leeds are now rooted to the foot of the table with just three wins from their first 16 matches but McDermott is showing no sign giving up the fight.

"We need to keep fighting and keep swinging away," he said, "coming in and trying to fix things up."

To compound their misery, the Rhinos lost full-back Zak Hardaker and prop Mitch Garbutt with shoulder injuries which already makes them very doubtful for next Friday's home game against Catalans Dragons.

Hooker Daryl Clark and winger Gene Ormsby both scored two tries apiece and stand-off Kurt Gidley contributed 20 points with a try and eight goals as Warrington bounced back from consecutive defeats by Wakefield and Castleford to return to the top of the table.

"We were pretty good," said Wolves coach Tony Smith. "It's a nice way to bounce back.

"We've been a little bit off in some areas and I thought we fixed up some of those areas.

"The main one was defence, that was strong tonight. We got back to how we were defending earlier in the season and our kicking game was a lot better.

"But they took some wearing down. They are trying really hard to get themselves out of the position they're in and it was game on until a bit after half-time."

Warrington were boosted by the return of Australian playmaker Chris Sandow and back-up hooker Brad Dwyer from lengthy injury absences and Smith was also delighted to have Ryan Atkins and Rhys Evans back in the centre positions.

"We were always going to miss Chrissy Sandow but we really missed Brad Dwyer too," Smith said.

"He makes sure the threat is still there when Clark comes off, it puts teams under pressure.

"Having two regular centres back made a difference. Rhys' reads in defence were exceptional at times."

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Topics:
Rugby League
Super League

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